Monday, October 12, 2015

Maple walnut cake

When we left the Philippines to settle in Melbourne, Australia nearly 15 years ago, I remember my mother telling me that the toughest times will be the first six months and that I should persevere through the struggles and stay strong.  Moving away from home and family is always difficult but if I can just get through the adjustment period, she assured me, I will be ok.

Starting a new life with three small kids was hard enough but what made it even more challenging (and frightening) was the fact that I got pregnant barely a month into our relocation. When I told my mom about the pregnancy over the phone, she felt my pain and anxiety and cried with me.  But as any loving mother would do, she again told me that everything was going to be fine.

I do believe that God allows things to happen for a specific reason.  If only we reflect upon them deeply, we will come to understand why and this understanding consequently paves the way for acceptance.  My then new baby boy, who was born on October 12 of 2001, became my best friend, my source of joy and hope, the light of my life! Instead of life becoming harder for me, everything became brighter because of him. God knew exactly what I needed and wasted no time in giving him to me!

My children have grown up so fast.  I can hardly believe that my youngest son is now 14! Even at this awkward, teenage stage, my bond with him remains as strong as ever, no different from when he was still a little child. I know in my heart that it forever will be.

A maple walnut chiffon cake filled and frosted with a maple SMBC and topped with walnut praline.

This new cake was for his birthday celebration which we held a day early (Sunday).  Just like last year's cake,  I thought of making something new. I'm quite sure though that the flavour combination of maple syrup and walnuts has been around for a very long time!


Hope you enjoy this recipe!

MAPLE WALNUT CHIFFON CAKE (recipe suitable for an 8” round, 3” high pan)

{A}
1 cup sifted cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons white sugar

{B}
¼ cup corn/canola oil
4 egg yolks, from large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup water
1/2 teaspoon maple extract

{C}
4 eggwhites
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar

{D}
6 tablespoons white sugar

{E}
40g finely chopped walnuts**


**Although I used a food processor, I did not grind the walnuts into a powder.  The pieces are just small enough so that they don't all sink into the bottom of the cake.

Procedure:
1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees Celsius.
2. In a large bowl, combine {A} well. Add in {B}. Beat with electric mixer or by hand until smooth and well blended.
3. In a separate bowl, beat {C} on high speed until frothy. Gradually add in the sugar {D} and beat until stiff peaks are formed. In three additions, gradually and gently fold in egg whites into egg yolk mixture. Along with the last addition of eggwhites, fold in the walnuts {E}.


4. Pour batter into an ungreased 8” round, 3” high pan.  Bake for about 50 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Invert pan into wire rack immediately and cool completely.
5. To release cake from pan, carefully run a thin knife around sides of pan and invert cake onto a large serving plate. **Tip: For easier handling, wrap your cake very well in cling film, then refrigerate overnight before frosting.

WALNUT PRALINE

This amount is more than you will need to top the cake but I suggest you just do the whole batch because I am pretty certain you will not be able resist on snacking on some of it!

1 cup caster sugar
1 cup walnuts

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. 

In a small, heavy saucepan and over low heat, melt (caramelize) the sugar until it is a golden amber colour. Stir in the walnuts and QUICKLY pour into prepared baking tray. Spread mixture using a greased spatula.


Allow the praline to cool for about 30 minutes before breaking (or pounding) into small pieces.  


Keep this in an airtight container until ready to use.

MAPLE SWISS MERINGUE BUTTERCREAM

Make a batch of SMBC using the recipe here, replacing the vanilla extract with 1 teaspoon of maple extract.

To assemble cake:

1. Cut the maple walnut chiffon cake in half horizontally.  Place top half, cut side up, on a cake board.  Spread some of the buttercream then top with the remaining cake half, cut side down.


2. Crumb coat the cake then chill in the fridge for a few minutes.


3.  Cover the whole cake smoothly with more buttercream.  Pipe whatever border you like!


For my cake, I piped overlapping e's around the cake top and shells along the bottom, both using a tip #21.


4.  Shortly before serving the cake, top it generously with walnut praline.


Until next cake!

9 comments:

  1. Gorgeous, and no doubt delicious as well! As your story shows, God's plan is always the best! Happy birthday to your young man!

    MGM

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi,

    Another lovely cake! You mentioned adding the praline shortly before serving. Should we not let it sit on the cake for a long period?

    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The longer the praline is exposed to air and moisture, the more it will lose its crunch.

      Delete
  3. Hi Corinne, that was a nice story when you were just starting your life in Melbourne. I agree, we just have to trust God for whatever it is. I miss you my friend. Your son's birthday cake is gorgeous. Happy Birthday to him. More blessings.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Corrine,

    For the praline, is it OK to use granulated sugar instead?

    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes of course. It will just take longer to melt.

      Delete
  5. If I want to use maple syrup instead of maple extract in both the cake and the frosting, how do I make the substitutions? Do I reduce the sugar and water in the cake and reduce the sugar in the frosting?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I cannot recommend something that I have not tried myself, sorry. Maple extract is highly concentrated while maple syrup is not and if you choose to use syrup, you would be needing A LOT to get the maple flavour through. For the buttercream, you will definitely turn it into soup! For the cake, I really can't say as I don't know how the syrup's sweetness compares to sugar and again, how much to use to get that maple flavour.

      Maple extract is not hard to find so I suggest you just go and buy some!

      Delete
    2. I will experiment on this and will let you know how it turns out. I've seen a few examples on the web where they use maple syrup in the cake. I also saw an example of frosting where the maple syrup was heated to 235 F and poured into beaten egg whites.

      Delete